Friday, June 29, 2012

Update: What I'm doing right now?

Right now, I'm working on a larger demo that will feature three distinct terrain maps, with each one to specifically-tailored to showcase three of the most distinct and important aspects of the game.

Just for this demo, they run like different stages to select, though in the game, they'll be traversable seamlessly across one continuous world of terrains.  Each map in the final game will represent only a single region on a single continent.  For the demo, one map will specifically showcase the battle engine aspect, one will showcase the environment exploration aspect, and the last will show the resource-collecting/stronghold building aspect of the game.

Each of these will be important aspects that are stressed about this game, as this game will not only be a preview to those interested in seeing the biggest aspects of this game in action, but also as my biggest accompaniment to our Kickstarter (I feel that a mere video for this game is simply not enough--you need a good demo).

So far, I'd say it's about the demo is about 40% done, and I'm looking to get about 60 to 70% done by this time next week. Most of everything is not textured yet (I leave texturing last). Production will pick up in the next two weeks, as I work hard towards a checkpoint and as I'll be recruiting helpers pretty soon.

I'll confess that, though I have good experience in making games, everyday I grow from this process. This is indeed a learning process, as well as time to explore. Some things are second nature to me, while some other things are a whole new experience for me. Some things I'm finding I need to invent, as they're simply not out there, such as developing my blue grid in the game to conform to the form of the uneven terrain--that takes some problem-solving to think out.

I'm also preparing to employ my other service Powerhouse Game Assets next week. This is good, as I really want to get that rolling, too. If assets are sold, they'll be that much more help towards the production of Cyka.

It's not easy to be the director, the designer, the artist, the developer, the producer, all while striving to be the financier, being my own teacher about new things and being the promoter all at the same time, but it sure is one interesting experience, though one I'd be glad to share with other future PolyKhrome developers.

I have more to share later, but that's it for now.

- Brian

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I just fixed my Wacom!

Dexter, boy genius
Don't know how or why it worked, but I fooled around with my Wacom tablet some more and tried someone's "whodathunk" suggestion for getting it to work again and I got it working again.  I don't know if the fix will last or not, but I don't really care--it's working for now, and now I can paint my textures easier again!  This fix saves about $200-$300 for a new one.  Anyways, back to full speed with production!

Update: Some new screenshots and concept art

Untextured Cyka model on terrain
Yeah, this terrain is huge.
Hey, a brief update: Check out the Screenshots and Concept Art pages to see some new pics.  Their textures are not yet finished, so I just left them untextured for their showing just for now.  And please don't mind the funky placeholder textures of the green montane terrain and basic color of the canyon terrain--I'm still painting their textures and I don't want to show them just yet (hey, textures take time!), so I used the simple and crude in-game-engine texturing just to make it easier to see the Commander Cyka model.  More pics are on the way, and video showing my production of this is being compiled..

- Brian

Unity 4 is bringing changes to Unity and Cyka development

An image of the Unity 4 logo
This is epic...

Unity 4 is coming out soon, and it's looking to be a real game-changer for Unity-developed games (such as Cyka).  Basically, thanks to Unity 4, not only will have characters in Cyka move a lot better in the game thanks to a new Mecanim feature, but now PolyKhrome can offer Linux gamers a standalone desktop version of Cyka (though, a platform-independent web browser version of the game is still planned), we can offer some optional DirectX 11 features for the PC version of Cyka, and we can provide some better shadow effects to the mobile versions of the game.

Photo of Jake Kaufman
Jake "virt"Kaufman
I can even complete this game by myself now, if need be, thanks to the time-saving Mecanim feature and the further-improved updates to Unity, which is already the most streamlined workflow of any game engine around.  Though, I'd still love and plan to hire at least an animator, an environment artist, a character/prop artist, and another programmer, not to mention hopefully manage to gain Jake Kaufman for the music and assistance with sounds.

(By the way, if you've never heard of Jake Kaufman's work and don't know why I'm excited that I'll be inquiring him later on his soundtrack services, check his demo reel out and then please check this work out.  I'm a huge fan of his work, and I know that if I can get him (and he does seems to be pretty accessible), he'd definitely help bring out this game's awesomeness.  No guarantees, but we'll have to wait and see, and first get the game more together.)

Even though UDK is still technically more powerful than the Unity Engine, this next Unity release is going to be huge, and make Unity Engine even more a strong contender for indie game developers.  They own the Mecanim technology (they bought the small company who developed it for them) and it comes standard with Unity 4, which is something unlike anything other game engines really have right now (not even UDK, even with its robust animation system, has something quite like this).

Mecanim in Unity 4
Unity's parkour dude, running with Mecanim
Mecanim is a feature that allows you to use one animation you create for one model to be adjusted to other sorts of animated models, and have that animation adjust to the model and adjust smoothly between other animations.  It's just a fantastic feature and it's one that I've been watching them develop for a while.

It not only makes the characters look incredibly fluid with more natural motions in action, but it runs incredibly well on platforms without a heavy memory and processing cost (it runs even with mobile devices!), and most of time, it saves developers time.  Go here to watch a video to see Mecanim in effect.

There are so many goodies that Unity 4 now brings to the table that I will postpone the Cyka: Steamed Edition demo for Steam (developed with UDK) just to focus on fully utilizing Unity 4 for the standard non-Steam DRM-free cross-platform edition of Cyka (which would also save me from giving a whopping 25% of my Kickstarter funds just to Epic Games alone, just to use UDK at first).  I'm still making Cyka: Steamed Edition, because I still want a Steam-powered version for both PC and Mac.  But right now, Unity 4 really came at a great time, and I really want to give the main cross-platform desktop and mobile versions of Cyka my full attention with Unity 4.

- Brian

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sorry about the absence, folks!

Me Wacom gots broked.
My past two weeks in a nutshell...

Sorry for the long pause there (it's been almost two full weeks since I've last posted something here), but I've had to deal with some stuff.  Yeah, just stuff.  I've had to work with major Internet issues lately (like my Internet being off for almost a whole week and experiencing absolutely frustrating dropped signals when it's on), my Wacom graphics tablet is damaged and out of commission (I'll need to get a new one), and my computer's been strangely freezing and crashing a few times lately for no reason I can find (all to my greatest frustration).

But there's also been some good things that have caused a delay lately, chiefly with the news of Unity 4 coming soon, promising some features I've been waiting a long time for and that causes me to readjust plans (again).  Also, I'm finishing up the game design document (which was supposed to be finished like two months ago, I'll admit, but got pushed aside to production work), which will be provided to those who would be interested in joining Team PolyKhrome when I start recruiting.  And finally, besides just some more character models I'm working on, the demo itself really just needs some character animations, some more textures to complete the terrain, and enough game logic to present the basic gameplay mechanics, and it'll be done enough to display on Indie DB and polished enough provide for our Kickstarter (if all goes well with no more delays) sometime next month.

I'm preparing to upload some shots of stuff I've been working on for the time throughout the past two weeks.  And even though my graphics tablet is out of commission, I'm taking advantage of some other techniques to get as much of the job done as I can until I get another tablet as soon as possible.  But hopefully, aside from texturing, hopefully I won't need it too much for the completion of the demo.  I still want to get my Kickstarter going next month.  I never meant to be late with starting the Kickstarter for Cyka, but so unexpected delays have come my way, all I can do is adapt to them.  But some things have made the delays worth the wait, such as the news of the upcoming Unity 4, which I'll be talking about more in a separate post.

Anyways, that's all for this post.  I've got several more posts to do today, so I'll keep this one brief.  Thanks for checking back over the last two weeks, and sorry to keep you waiting.  But hopefully, from what I've got to show soon, you'll think it was well worth the wait.

- Brian

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A new Games page added!

Check out our new Games page.  It shows the lineup of games we have coming from PolyKhrome (though, not in chronological order).  These games are why PolyKhrome was born.  These are titles we think will make PolyKhrome truly one of the best indie game developers around.  And a number of them, we'd like to have featured on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, in addition to the currently-supported platforms that we are developing towards (PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and OnLive).  See any games that interest you?  After the completion of Cyka, the first episode of Deuces Wild! called Deuces Wild!: Jacks Are Better is our next game.  As PolyKhrome grows, so does our games.  We've got some nice games coming, if I do say so myself.  Of course, though, one game at a time!

- Brian

Update: Cyka model development screenshots

Developmental shot of Commander Cyka
Commander Cyka in development

Check the Concept Art page for some first-look shots of the Commander Cyka model in development.  I'm just fooling around with head designs at the moment, and I'll post up more designs later.  The final design will eventually be textured, rigged, posed, and animated for the demo (which are the easier parts).  What you see here is far from finished.  So far, I plan to revise the bevor (the mouth area), I'm adjusting the eyes' shape and glow, sculpt finer details on the head, create some steam effects, baked the maps (normal, specular, glow, etc.), produce a low-poly model, and the upper torso is being finishing up.  No problem, though.

- Brian

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

For Developers: PolyKhrome introduces Powerhouse

If you're not an indie or hobbyist game developer, then you're not going to care about this one too much.  But if you are, then this might be of some interest to you.

We're opening a new page devoted to our game assets for sale.  It's going to be through a division called Powerhouse Game Assets (or simply Powerhouse).  This is just so we can focus our attention on our games here at PolyKhrome, and on our coming assets at Powerhouse.

The assets from Powerhouse will be developed with the indie game developer in mind, and as indie game developer, PolyKhrome knows a lot of those needs personally.  We make what we need (such as the clothes-modeling program I've been organizing, for instance) and we know that others will appreciate what we are and will be producing.

The assets will range from everything such as 3D models, environments, music, textures, scripts, detailed content packages and even full basic game starter packs.  And we're providing assets for many kinds of game engines, including Unity, UDK, CryEngine 3 SDK, and Spring RTS Engine.  2D game engines will be later supported.  The assets will be variously available in a number of asset marketplaces, such as the Unity Asset Store, Envato, TurboSquid, and 3DExport.

The majority of the content will be game-ready, and the prices for our assets will be priced with the indie developer in mind.  We'll even offer a royalty-based plan option that will be available when we begin with showcasing assets, because we know that sometimes you've got to start with nothing to make something.

The money we make from assets will go towards our own game development, and even some of the game assets from our own games will be made available as assets to use, typically provided with alternative textures in addition to the original textures.

As for the name, I like the name Powerhouse because it describes our we're going to be with our assets production.  I already have the kind of logo in mind for it.  And I think I just have a thing for ten-letter words that begin with P, has an H in the middle, and ends with E.

We're looking to have our first assets put up this week.  If you visit the site, please excuse the mess--we're building something here.

- Brian

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thanks for 600 views (and without even trying!)

We've reached over 600 views so far, and whether you're a repeating visitor or a new visitor, thank you!  This is a rather nice number of views considering that PolyKhrome hasn't even began to broadcast our game Cyka yet.  We plan to put the Cyka game and register PolyKhrome on Indie DB as soon as the playable demos are almost finished, and we suspect there will be a significant jump in attention from that.

But just the fact that you all who contributed to the 600+ views thus far, just on word-of-mouth or curiosity alone, it still pretty cool.  Having 600 views is not a lot in terms visitors of most bigger blogs, but for an upstarting indie game developer working on their currently unheard-of game, it does mean that at least 600 times, we've piqued someone's interest to come here.  We'll take it.

- Brian

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Update: Some development concept designs up

A Knight Faction unit's helmet falteplate
Next time you see me, I'mma be finished and awesome!

This will be a brief one here.  There's some development concept shots on the Concept Art page.  It's just few pieces, and again, they're in developmental stage.  They're undergoing design refinement, sculpting, retopo (making it a low-poly mesh), and texturing, and incorporated with other designs.  There are several designs being finished at one time.  I meant to post something earlier today, but I simply lost track of time (I'm one busy guy).  But there are more shots on the way, concept art, finished shots, and in-game demo shots.  Meanwhile, terrains still need more texturing, and so they are next.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Update: Podcast is available and concept art is next

Podcast on Blogger
Our first podcast!

The first PolyKhrome podcast is now available in the Behind The Scenes page.  This is the first one from me as the chief developer, and here I talk about things such as a overview description of the game, the plot and theme of the story in the game, a little on the visual design aspects of the game, and some development in plan for the game, as well as some brief mentioning about the upcoming Cyka Kickstarter soon (which awaits my demos).  You can expect more podcasts in the future and from more developers, and you can expect them to come maybe once or twice a month.

This podcast is about 1 hour and 53 minutes, as in this one in particular I'm explaining a lot for the first time, so I recommend that you listen to it when you have some time and are doing something menial, like surfing the web or something.  I am considering breaking up this particular podcast into 3 or 4 parts, but for now, this podcast is available as is on two links (just in case one of them should ever stop working for some reason).  The format of the audio file is MPEG-4, and the folder is zipped.

I think I did alright and I think I got a lot said how I wanted, though, I'll work on my flow a bit in speaking (better pace, less stuttering).  The audio is pretty good quality, though I must apologize about the few instances of audio compression artifacts (little glitches) present in this podcast's audio occurring every now and then.  I'll choose better recording settings next time.  If you have any questions concerning something mentioned in the podcast, I'll take them here in the comments or you can e-mail me at

Also, today you should see some new concept art posted today.  If for some reason it's not today, then surely expect them Sunday (Saturdays are my only days off).  But I'm personally rather picky of what concept art I reveal and when, and I try to release a load of pictures at one time, but that's just me.  I don't expect this of my expected team members soon.  And speaking of that, I'm writing the post calling for collaborators at this page right now.  I'll post an update when the page is up, and if you're a game developer (currently and specifically, a game artist), you can check it out then.

If I'm not able to return here today, have a good weekend, folks!

- Brian

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Update: Podcast is recorded and a few other updates

The first PolyKhrome podcast has been recorded and will be a podcast available sometime tomorrow.  The chief developer (um, me) talks about the details of the game, including descriptions of the gameplay, the plot of the story in Story mode, some of the visual style of the game, as well as some as a little details about some development planned for the game.  The podcast is being edited and will be available by noon tomorrow.

There will also be some new concept art posted tomorrow, some as 2D illustrations and some as 3D.  There's a whole lot of concept art and screenshots coming pretty soon, as PolyKhrome goes into overdrive in development of these two demos.  More development screenshots will be posted as well.

Starting tomorrow, PolyKhrome will be posting up available two positions on Unity forums for developers.  For the time being, the positions will be for an additional game artist for 3D assets, as well as concept designer for 2D designs.  An additional programmer will be sought later.

Finally, our first video is currently in production and will be available on our YouTube Channel very soon (which will be getting a face lift as well).  This video will be showing the development of one of our models for the demos.  This marks the start of an exciting time for PolyKhrome, as we will be using YouTube extensively in following the development of this game.

- Brian

Monday, June 4, 2012

Update: Some production screenshots and delight for the UDK version of Cyka

Screenshot 01
Can't show you the textures just yet...

More development screenshots are available on the Screenshots page, down under the "Cyka Kickstarter demo (Unity version)" section.  These some screenshots are just something to give you to look at just for now.  They are just showing the wireframe models of the Unity-developed Cyka demo and using a placeholder sky texture, as the terrain model textures and sky textures are not yet finished.

But what's cool about these pictures is that they're showing one-fourth of the total map size for the playable region for the Unity-developed Cyka demo.  To give you a sense of scale, click on screenshot 03 below, look at one of the triangle faces, and place your mouse cursor within one--that's just about the size that one character will be on the terrain.  Now imagine about 50 of similarly-sized units engaged in confrontation with 50 other similarly-sized units, and you can begin to imagine the elbow room your playing field will be in this demo.

Screenshot 03
Screenshot 03

Some of this terrain map will be what actually gets left untextured and released for free use on the Unity Asset Store.  This entire map when finished textured and animated will be in the pack of three game-ready terrain maps made available for purchase for $10, provided with many prop assets to allow people to make it look like their own terrain.  We're not afraid of selling the terrain because the terrain in the final game will look better defined than the more general-purpose terrain pack and there will be so many terrains in the official game that will pale even this large terrain size in comparison.

Also in development right now for this demo:
  • models of several types of trees, rocks and plants are being made
  • high-resolution sky texture being created and rendered from scratch in a separate 3D program
  • initial character models are being modeled (animations come next)
  • concept buildings are being conceptualized in both 2D and 3D
  • creature designs are being done in 2D at the moment
  • textures for the terrains are being done carefully (but not yet shown here)
  • game logic for both demos are being plotted out
Again, more reveals of the Unity-developed Cyka demo are coming this week.

~ ~

Progress is coming along quite well for the UDK-developed Cyka demo as well.  So far, we've tried some tests of terrain as both generated using the heightmap terrain editor and as imported modeled terrain meshes, to weight out their advantages and disadvantages for us (some as memory usage, environment destructibility, ease of assembly, etc.), and we're definitely going with the terrain editor option.

UDK makes it pretty easy to create an impressive terrain quite quickly, so the test to be sure about our approach was worth the time.  Though, UDK is such a robust engine with tons of amazing features at your disposal, some obvious and some not-so-obvious, and personally, it's still quite the learning experience for me as the chief developer (currently the sole developer, at the moment).  I am proficient in using Unity, which I've been using for years, but UDK I'm rather new at--I've only adopted it this year--and so I want to be totally up to speed with UDK when I finally hire my team of developers.  Though, it's time-consuming learning while you utilize.

It's been worth taking the extra time to learn how to best utilize the engine--and thanks to a wealth of learning resources, that's been happening with no problem.  I'm mastering this engine quickly, and I can see how even more amazing this version of Cyka is going to be.  The original Unity-developed version will already be loads of fun (cross-platform-style), but this UDK-developed version of Cyka will be very amazing to experience on Steam.  The contrast between them will be one I think gamers will thoroughly enjoy.  (Of course, Kickstarter supporters who pledge at the $50 level will get both the Unity-developed standard Cyka (four copies of this version, in fact) and the UDK-developed Cyka: Steamed Edition.)

I can't wait to show you the work I've been working on so far!  Since I'm working on more than one thing at a time, I'm working non-linearly, going between different aspects and working on them a bit at a time, so that's why I don't want to show them off just yet.  But I'm sharing the untextured examples of my Unity work just to whet your appetite a bit.

- Brian

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Update: Screenshots coming, building our team, Cyka details, and E3 excitement

The two demos are coming along well, and we'll post some development screenshots up as soon as we reach a good point we're comfortable with sharing them.  Also on the way are some more concept art, our first video for the PolyKhrome YouTube channel, a podcast, and those terrain maps for the Unity Asset Store that we're working on.  Expect most of that coming this week.

~ ~

Next on our announcements here, PolyKhrome be looking to expand our team soon.  The development team of PolyKhrome will be kept deliberately small, where we can be a tight-knit powerhouse.  We will have four positions available pretty soon.

  • 3D assets artist
  • 2D assets artist
  • Game/network programmer
  • Sound designer
After the release of our demos and the start of our Kickstarter, we'll be looking to fill those positions.  We also plan to seek dedicated music production from one of my personal favorite game music composer, Jake Kaufman, if we reach our goal with the Kickstarter.  This will put Cyka development into overdrive, but for right now, we're focusing on establishing Cyka with a solid foundation these demos currently in development will provide.

~ ~

As for some more details about the game, because some have been curious of how Cyka plays in terms of perspective, the game's battle aspects play out in a third-person overhead (isometric) view similarly used in games like Starcraft II and Torchlight II, but we aim to improve on the usage than most games, as Cyka allows for a range of rotation with the camera, as well as allow players to experience the battlefield in third-person ground-level view, and first-person perspective for certain units with scoping available with their range projectiles.

You can quickly switch between overhead view and ground-level third-person view.  The overhead view is particularly useful for turn-based actioning, while the ground-level view is useful for real-time fighter action.  Though, you can use the ground-level view during turn-based actioning when you're taking cover and you want to snipe at an dead-as-a-duck open target who might have retaliating sniper units covering them.

The game's exploration aspects play out in third-person ground-level view, but players will have the option to traverse the lands in overhead view and to survey the land in first-person view.  You'll have a sense of freedom of exploring the fully-explorable continents of Rhye, as you traverse by foot, by mountable beasts (if which you'll have to catch and tame for your army), and by other means of transportation we don't want to give away just yet (but we'll hint this much: the sky's the limit).  Again, we're making the kind of game we wish would exist.

~ ~

As we develop the demos, we're going to post Cyka up in the IndieDB database of games, and I think our game will get quite the coverage in news there.  We expect this game will get the attention of a lot of folks, so if you want to be among the first 100 to receive a free desktop copy of the game (PC or Mac), visit our Facebook page, Like us if you do, and let us know how Cyka sounds to you so far, and we'll send keep you listed as one of the 100 people to send the game to upon completion.  We say this because we expect quite a lot of attention to flood in when the playable demos are complete and word gets out in indie game news sites.

~ ~

Finally, I just can't leave this update without talking about E3 2012!  I'm personally excited about this year's E3, in particularly due to the Wii U from Nintendo.  I'm looking forward to seeing more about the Wii U, though I'll be posting up some thoughts of the E3 presentations of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.  I've been following the Wii U's development from day one along with multiple sources (like Wii U Blog, Nintendo Everything, and Wii U Go), and as both a gamer (esp. a Nintendo fan) and a game developer, I'm ecstatic about the possibilities the Wii U's sweet controller and better online features provides.  I can say that PolyKhrome definitely has aims for developing for the Wii U, and I would definitely make sure we take full advantage of the features of the Wii U.  But one step at a time--become established developers first!

Anyways, that's all for now.  Though, I'd like to say thanks to visitors for our 500+ views of this blog so far--PolyKhrome really appreciates your checking us out.  A lot of hard work is going into this game, and I'm sure in saying that these demos will not disappoint you.

- Brian